Swansea Market has secured the funding to deliver a £439,000 improvement package.
The work will include the addition of public toilets, along with a multi-purpose communal area, free public Wi-Fi, new interactive LED signs and improved entrances.
Transforming Swansea Market’s central area – have your say!
A big thank-you to everyone who took part in the Market’s central area consultation.
The survey results are in and the preferred concept selection from the 322 online surveys was Concept 1 – the Pergola design, which received 56% of the overall vote.
Several comments were made about the design being elegant and in keeping with the architecture and use of the Market, with particular reference to the how the curved shape of the pergola compliments the roof. There was comment that the scheme would provide a ‘centrepiece’ that would define the space but also be permeable so not as to be obtrusive.
The planting and green theme was also well received by quite a number of respondents including some comments that the design was perceived to be ‘greener’ than the other. The adaptability of the space for events and exhibitions was another recurrent theme were positive comments were received.
The chosen name is Gardd y Farchnad/The Market Garden.
The number of hard copy survey returns was small at just 42. This was not unexpected given the COVID-19 restrictions beyond our control, however it provided another opportunity for shoppers and traders to share their views (particularly those without online access).
Overall the hard copy survey results reflected the preferences and comments shown in the online surveys.
There were some great positive comments and overwhelming support for the development of a more social, flexible and desirable area to attract new customers. Constructive feedback has also been taken into consideration and plans amended to reflect these views where practicable.
- Management and maintenance – it is recognised that the area needs to be well managed to ensure it is being used for its desired purpose only, not subject to anti-social behaviour and kept clean.
Response: A dedicated member of staff will be responsible for managing this area to help ensure this is the case.
- Furniture – the choice, comfort and quality of the proposed furniture was questioned.
Response: The project designers, Tangent Partnership, will be revisiting the furniture proposals upon review of these comments.
- Validity of the development – Whilst overall the survey responses endorsed the development of the central area, there was some opposition regarding the validity of the project as a whole and/ or the designs proposed. This accounted for 10% of all responses, including 5 out of the 9 Swansea Market traders who submitted an online survey. Additionally, 13 emails were sent to City Centre Management by members of the public regarding the scheme.
Questions were posed regarding the rationale for the project and the need for and use of seating, Council priorities, wasting money and the relocation of casual traders. It was also suggested that the area would be better used for more stalls / trading opportunities.
Response: It is important now more than ever that we realise the opportunities and the space that we have within Swansea Market to ensure it is sustainable for the future. The retail industry and city centres are changing; the development of a more social, flexible and desirable area to attract new customers is the opportunity to move forward with the times without changing the character or main function of Swansea Market.
Trading opportunities are still available in the Market, and we will still be seeking new traders who can bring something new to the Market offer.
- Lines of sight and aisle congestion – concerns were raised regarding this for the stalls surrounding the new central area and also the new casual trading area near the cockle rotunda.
Response: Aisle widths will not be reduced as part of this development and in some areas they will increase. The selected Pergola concept is a very open design and any planters will be placed above stall height so that lines of sight will remain as open as possible. With regard to sightlines surrounding the new casual stall, the project designers, Tangent Partnership have re-visited the design and been able to propose modifications that will more effectively support sightlines.
- Dog water station – although accounting for only a small number of comments, there was a mixed response to permitting dogs in the Market and the location of a dog water station in the new central area.
Response: The policy regarding dogs in the Market is to be drafted. In the current design proposals, the dog water station is set away from key areas such as the children’s play area.
Guide dogs are already permitted in the Market and Environmental Health will continue to undertake their standard inspections.
A meeting was held with the Disability Liaison Group (DLG) on Friday 22 January 2021. There was general support for the development and design proposals. Practical advice was shared on a number of key accessibility issues and several adaptations were noted for further consideration in particular the application of signage in braille.
Given the overall positive response to the consultation approval has been given to proceed with the Pergola concept with more detailed designs and structural specifications. Work will also be undertaken with regard to the feedback elements suggested above such as identifying new furniture options, optimising lines of sight and accessibility.
The new area will include tables, seats and toddler play areas along with WiFi, USB phone charging, power points, a dog water station and recycling/refuse facilities.
Take a look at our other Market Improvement updates!